After a 10-year stay in the English top flight, Stoke City were relegated at the end of last season. For a team that had found a way to thrive in the Premier League for so long, it was an absolutely disastrous campaign.
It seemed like a fractious dressing room, one that was largely lost by then manager Mark Hughes. Hughes would lose his job midway through the season, but their fortunes didn't improve.
Speaking on BBC Radio 5 Live this week, former Stoke City player Glen Johnson said he could see the relegation coming a mile away. In fact, he knew they would be relegated before the season even got underway. This is largely dow to the attitude of some of the members of the squad, perhaps best summed by this story about club record signing Giannelli Imbula in preseason.
What went wrong at Stoke 2017/2018?
Glen Johnson said he saw relegation coming pre-season.
And @jjenas8 can't believe this dressing-room story...
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Giannelli Imbula subbed himself because someone didn’t pass him the ball. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. It was in a pre-season game and in training, I swear to you. Record signing. Like £20m or something?
He’s on the edge of the box or whatever, Charlie (Adam) has burst through and didn’t cut the ball back so he’s waved his arms in the air with his gloves on then he starts walking towards the bench.
He’s got a long way to come so we just think he’s casually walking about, we’re not really looking at him but next thing he’s on the touchline and not saying anything. Then we’re looking at him thinking, he’s walking fine but he must be injured or something.
Then he’s swearing in French on the bench, throwing things around, but still no one knows what’s going on. Then obviously someone gets stripped off and comes on.
But then 10 minutes later he decides he wants to play again. This is where it’s a disgrace. He came back on and they took the kid off again.
If you’re the manager are you going to let that happen?
Imbula joined Stoke in February 2016 for a club record fee of £18.3million, and was an absolute disaster. He managed 26 appearances in a season-and-a-half, before leaving to join Toulouse on loan at the start of the last campaign.
He is still on the books at Stoke, having completed a temporary switch to Rayo Vallecano in August. He is believed to have a contract valued at around £40,000 per-week.